Given all of the talk about the commoditization of our industry, the CAL-Lab Group’s focus on maximizing profits during its 90th annual meeting in Chicago was right on point. Chaired by Jim Gorgol, CDT, the meeting attracted 774 attendees and highlighted strategies for building your bottom line, offering value to dentist-clients and increasing efficiency and productivity with digital technology.
Keynote speaker Gordon Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD, addressed doing business in a slowly recovering economy during his presentation Paradigm Shifts in Dentistry Influencing the State of Dental Technology. “With the economy still recovering, patients hesitant to spend and benefit plans paying less, both technicians and doctors need to look at the areas that are on the rise, such as implants, digital technology and esthetic dentistry,” he said, also offering his take on new and up-and-coming trends. “Endodontics is going to be big due to aging baby boomers, and sleep dentistry...
“Technicians tell me that dentists are always texting photos to them. Rather than having to get the photo off their phones and onto a computer, they can simply upload the photo directly to the case file using our new iPhone/iPad app, LabStar Attach,” said Jeff Noles, CEO of LabStar Software.
The app is also designed to upload lab slip images by replacing paper scanners. It works side-by-side with LabStar’s Digital Transfer feature for HIPAA-compliant file sharing. LabStar plans to add features such as barcoding, delivery management and special reporting to the app.
For information, call 323-522-3120 or email email@example.com.
Digital technology product lines continue to expand and this year’s attendees got the first look at new scanners, 3D printers, milling units and software options, as well as a host of new materials.
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Magic Touch Software’s Dental Lab Case and Production Management™ (DLCPM) Enterprise system offers a full set of customer relationship management tools and lab production and case management features. A cloud-based software platform, Dental Lab CPM Net™, is also available.
With this year’s launch of Version 11, the company continues its efforts to help laboratories go paperless and streamline efficiency. Among the new features:
The Technician Bench App allows technicians to log in to check on their work assignments, receive notifications if case elements change or add notes about the case, all in real time from a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet. This app also functions as a time clock and helps with payroll reports.
Pickup and delivery personnel can log into My Route Manager App via their smartphone or tablet and get a complete route list for the day. The driver can receive a digital signature from the dental office and the lab is notified immediately so it...LMT Communications, Inc. · March 29 at 11:15 am
ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers, a group of 29 practices around the country, is planning to double its network and hire up to 70 implant technicians in the next several years.
With LMT’s LAB DAY Chicago right around the corner—February 26 and 27—it’s time to finalize your plans to get the most out of our industry’s biggest, busiest show! Here’s a look at some of the special promotions, raffles and demonstrations available inside the LAB DAY Exhibit Hall.
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- December 2015
- October 2015
Henry Schein’s Labnext is a cloud-based lab management software specifically designed for digital dentistry. The open system integrates with a variety of scanners, design software and practice management software packages and is tightly integrated with the company’s DDX (Digital Dental Exchange).
DDX is a HIPAA-compliant, web-based digital portal that helps labs accept digital files, manage casework digitally and create new lines of communication with clients. The dentists can submit all their digital scans, X-rays and photos via DDX. The laboratory can customize the case submission form and require the dentist to enter specific information, eliminating the need for data entry in the lab and minimizing errors and follow up.Streamline WorkflowWhen a dentist submits a case, the lab receives a notification in the DDX or Labnext software or via email and logs in to start the case. “When I get a case via DDX, an email pops up on my phone and I know right away that I have a...LMT Communications, Inc. · October 21 at 5:10 pm
The latest version of Evolution Software from Atlanta Based Systems (ABS), released last month, has expanded the existing communications features, adding more automatic notification options to further facilitate and track digital communications.
Automatic notifications can be sent via email or pop-up windows in the software to multiple users at the lab when, for example, a case has arrived or the dentist has added a new image or note to the case file. Likewise, users can set up automatic email alerts so dentist-clients know when a case is received or shipped.
“I'm all about automation, and we use these emails to make sure our customers are receiving updates from us on our cases. For example, if we need a new lower impression, we send the dentist a case ‘hold’ notification and type a note regarding what we need. Automatically, an email is sent to the primary contact for the account and a record is saved in the file,” says Lee Coursey, Managing Partner,...LMT Communications, Inc. · October 19 at 5:23 pm
Three years ago, CAP (formerly Custom Automated Prosthetics) began developing software to make its milling center as efficient as possible. Its goal: to automate many of the steps between each process of the CAD/CAM workflow and eliminate duplicate data entry into their lab management software and again in the scanning department.
The result: CAPZilla, a workflow automation platform that streamlines many functions within the digital fabrication process. For example:
A barcode scan of the work ticket at the model and die scan station adds all essential information into all the appropriate data fields, saving time and eliminating human error at this step.
Once scanned, a designer can scan the work ticket or select the case in the CAPZilla case overview list. The prescription and customer design preferences are displayed and then the order is opened in 3Shape Designer. After the design is complete, CAPZilla automatically moves the case to milling or prompts the designer to produce...LMT Communications, Inc. · October 15 at 2:52 pm
This article first appeared in LMT’s August 2015 edition of the LMT Insider, our monthly e-newsletter, and takes a closer look at the pros and cons of the minimum wage ordinances that have recently made national headlines.
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- September 2015
In the last year, MicroDental has acquired four laboratories and is actively seeking additional laboratory members. Here, MicroDental President Len Liptak details what the company is looking for and the benefits it offers.
- July 2015
Many years ago I attended a dental industry seminar on personnel nightmares, given by John Ness, Founder of PTC and the Productivity Training system. He described four types of potential troublemakers in organizations but I was particularly struck by the type he called “Harry.”
“Harry’s,” he said, are often delightful, can-do personalities, do impeccable work and seem like perfect employees, but they have a dark side. In ways it’s quite difficult to pinpoint, they also subtly undermine the operation and/or its leadership, dragging down company morale without anyone realizing how or why. “Harry’s” are often the most damaging personnel type of all.
I specifically remembered “Harry” because I suspected I had one on my staff. Like Ness explained, it was nearly impossible to put my finger on how “Harry” affected us and it took me more time than I wish it had to make a move.
Last month I gave a public shout out to my...
- June 2015
Since its debut 25 years ago, LMT’s LAB DAY West has grown from a regional show with 800 attendees to the largest dental laboratory trade show on the West Coast and a truly international event. This year’s show in Garden Grove, CA, drew 1,706 laboratory owners, managers and technicians, hailing from 27 states and 10 other countries.
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Whether you have two technicians or 20, there is perhaps no greater challenge in the laboratory than managing your staff. From morale issues to interpersonal conflicts, Lab Owner and Manager respondents to LMT’s Personnel Survey share their strategies for achieving pleasant and productive work environments.
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- April 2015
In our industry, where the economic barriers to entry are relatively low, it’s all too common to hear stories about employees leaving a lab and then winning that lab’s customers, or worse, other staff members. Of course, from the lab owner’s perspective, the former employee didn’t win the customer or staff member; in his mind, he was stolen!
Like some of you, we too have been burned and it’s happened often enough that we were compelled to change the way we deal with new hires. In California, the Department of Corporations allows companies to pursue financial damages if it’s determined that protected, confidential information has been taken from your business, so we incorporated two documents into our hiring process to legally protect us from employees pursuing our customers and staff once they leave our lab.
Our goal in this process is not to create overly burdensome legal documents but rather to simply obtain a mutual understanding of our company’s...
- March 2015
In our Ask SCORE column, George Obst, certified SCORE mentor and retired CEO and Founding Partner of Dental Services Group, draws upon his 30 years of experience to address questions about building successful and profitable laboratories.
How can I effectively solve recurring problems? In any type of business, unresolved problems can fester, leading to poor quality and service, and may ultimately lead to the failure of the business. To effectively solve a recurring issue, you need to identify and fix its underlying cause—not just the symptom.
To get to the root of the problem, a simple and effective technique is to ask “why” four or five times. The premise of this technique—started in the 1930s by Sakichi Toyoda, Founder of the Toyota Motor Company—is that the answers to most problems come from the people who are working within the process. Once the “why” questions are answered, corrective procedures can be put in place to ensure that the particular...
- January 2015
A few months ago, my son turned me on to two television reality shows that I feel have merit for anyone who runs a small business or aspires to: The Profit, on CNBC, showcasing the multi-talented Marcus Lemonis, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Camping World; and Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares, starring restaurateur, Chef Gordon Ramsay. Unfortunately, Ramsay retired this series at the end of 2014. Fortunately, there are 123 episodes you can watch on YouTube.
Say what you will about reality TV; these shows are like business school by proxy.
Without knowing any particular market, Lemonis attempts to save failing businesses—from beauty shops to sporting goods—assessing, reinventing and turning them around. For Lemonis, whose mantra is “people, product, process,” the buck stops with integrity. If the business owner(s) he comes to help is not completely transparent with him regarding the status of his business—financial and otherwise—he walks away—but...
- April 2014
Henry Schein previewed Labnext, its new cloud-based lab management software specifically designed for digital dentistry. The open system integrates with a wide variety of scanners, design software and popular practice management software packages.
“Labnext is tightly integrated with Henry Schein’s DDX (Digital Dental Exchange). For the first time, the lab has a direct link to the doctor’s management software,” said Sandy MacDonald, Product Manager.
Other key features include:
Case management tools including HIPAA-compliant digital file transfer and storage.
Powerful billing functionality that accurately captures financial transactions.
Comprehensive reporting, including a customizable dashboard and sales and revenue analysis.
Labnext users are included in the DDX lab list and have a DDX lab landing page.
Visit Labnext.net for more information.
- February 2014
"Let me invite you into the pages of Lab Management Today...our goal is to give you the tools you need to build a better, more profitable, smoothly operating dental laboratory business," wrote Publisher Judy Fishman in Lab Management Today's inaugural issue.
After its first few months, it became clear that LMT was destined to be more than just another industry trade magazine. LMT quickly earned its reputation as the "Go-To" resource for business, marketing and management strategies. We devised several ground-breaking crown experiments, created the much-anticipated biennial Wage and Fee surveys, implemented the industry's most comprehensive Buyer's Guide directory and brought you a comprehensive look at the State of the Industry every five years.
Thirty years later, we keep innovating, always with you in mind: in print through LMT magazine, in person through LMT LAB DAY and online at www.LMTmag.com.
- September 2013
Thanks to the advent of digital technology, many laboratory owners and managers are discovering new business models and finding ways to reinvent their businesses and reinvigorate their careers. Here are the stories of three lab owners/managers who have done so using Sirona Dental, Inc.'s CEREC Acquistion Centers, Sirona Connect.
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- February 2012
Have an ingenious marketing strategy? Innovative cost-cutting idea? New way to streamline production? Share your best business boosting strategies with over 3,000 of your peers on THE BRIDGE!
- November 2011
Loyalty rewards programs are an effective way to maintain strong relationships with your top clients, encourage their repeat business, optimize cross-selling opportunities and regulate cash flow.
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- September 2011
Though the number of accredited dental technology programs is dwindling, two programs on opposite coastsâLos Angeles City College and New York City College of Technologyâcontinue to be successful, thanks in part to the dedication of the program direc
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